Chinese research shows 15% of cats test positive for COVID-19, transmission via humans

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4th April 2020 – (China) Cats and dogs have been infected with COVID-19 in Hong Kong, and a research team in the Mainland published the latest research report on Friday (3rd) that almost 15% of cats tested positive for COVID-19. They were suspected to be infected by the owner, or infected in the environment contaminated by the virus, but there is no evidence that the virus will spread to humans through cats. The research team is led by the Laboratory of Agricultural Microbiology of Huazhong Agricultural University and the research team of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. They published the report on the website bioRxiv.

They collected serum samples of 102 cats, 15 of which were positive for the virus test, with a rate of 14.7%. Among the positive samples, 11 had COVID-19 neutralizing antibodies. Among them, 3 cats with COVID-19 had the highest neutralizing titers, indicating that the high neutralizing titers may be due to the close contact between the cat and the COVID-19 patient.

Other studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus does not replicate well in dogs, pigs, chickens, and ducks, but it is very effective in ferrets and cats, and can be spread between cats through droplets. The research team pointed out that it is necessary to thoroughly study the route of transmission of the COVID-19 from human to cat, remind people and pets to keep an appropriate distance, and take strict sanitary and quarantine measures against them to prevent potential transmission routes.

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